Pax Christi has urged the world to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with the “the two hands of nonviolence”, saying “‘no’ to the false security of weapons and ‘yes’ to human dignity”.

– Food insecurity, weapons spending, health care… essays on aspects of the crisis

The Catholic peace group released May 29 a series of seven essays on the “complexity of the issues made visible by this current pandemic”.

The titles of those papers were:

– “A global course correction for authentic, inclusive security is urgent”

In the documents today, Pax Christi warned of the possibility that “powerful sectors” in society that will attempt to respond to the coronavirus crisis “by deepening the violence and injustice” already deeply embedded in the world in such realities as systemic poverty, political upheaval, “useless but dangerous military systems and the armed conflicts they breed” and the worsening climate crisis.

But the peace movement said that a possibility just as realistic as that of the powerful exploiting the coronavirus is that of the world choosing to pivot after the pandemic to nonviolent values such as dialogue, cooperation, reciprocity, “courageous compassion” and multilateral coordination.

“In the midst of the enormous suffering and upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, a global course correction for authentic, inclusive security is urgent”, Pax Christi insisted.

The movement added that a sustainable future after the coronavirus can only be built if we reject a “business as usual” approach to reconstruction and instead embrace for that task “creative moral imaginations” and “powerful, nonviolent love in action”.

“Responding to the pandemic, both short-term and longer-term, requires a fundamental shift from the ‘unjust normal’ of systemic and structural violence across the globe, from systems that destroy, dehumanise, and diminish, to a culture that seeks the fullness of life for all”, Pax Christi highlighted.

– Confront the pandemic with “love, courage, and relentless action for the health and well-being of all”

What is at stake in the world’s response to the pandemic could not be more serious, Pax Christi explained in its essays today.

The chance that some 265 million people around the world could be starving by the end of this year – up from 135 million before the pandemic – or the reality of the millions more who are already suffering from a lack of clean water, healthcare and food because their governments are investing in the tools of war are just two reasons that must spur the world into acting now and acting with a vision, the movement explained.

Add to that the fact that to maintain power authoritarian governments are already using shutdowns, surveillance, and other intimidatory techniques against internet users and citizens, and especially Catholics, have even more reason to confront the pandemic with “love, courage, and relentless action for the health and well-being of all”, Pax Christi said.

– Develop “antibodies of solidarity” from a framework of “just peace”

“Pope Francis has reminded the world that ‘an emergency like COVID-19 is overcome in the first place by the antibodies of solidarity'”, Pax Christi concluded its essays today.

Those “antibodies of solidarity”, it added, cannot be discerned in a “war fighting” ethical framework but only in a vision of a “just peace” – a play on the traditional theological term of “just war”.

Only through commitments to break the cycles of violence and to invest in tools such as a global ceasefire, integral disarmament, restorative justice and trauma healing will the world be able to withstand the pressure of the coronavirus on its societies and systems, Pax Christi alerted.

– To read the Pax Christi essays on the coronavirus, follow this link to their website

More on Novena on Pax Christi:

Catholic peace group Pax Christi warns world “at tipping point” in effort to eliminate nuclear weapons


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.